KMGH Investigative Reporter John Ferrugia has left the station to go work for the local PBS station.
Starting this week, he has a new TV home — down the street but on the noncommercial side.
The Denver Post writes that after nearly 24 years at KMGH-Channel 7, Ferrugia quit the late-news grind to launch his next chapter at Rocky Mountain PBS.
He has seen the TV industry change dramatically over the years and believes his timing is good, yet again.
Ferrugia believes he got out of network television at just the right time, exiting CBS News and the news magazine "West 57th Street" when he had a young son and didn't want to travel constantly and as the industry was contracting in the late 1980s. The Big Three networks were under new corporate owners, all pushing for profits from news, and cable and the Internet were presenting new challenges.
Ferrugia also believes he got out of local TV news at just the right time, exiting the ABC affiliate to go to RMPBS at a time when reporters have to do more of what they don't value in order to be allowed to do a bit of what they enjoy.
"Commercial broadcast TV is under pressure to serve the audience's shorter attention span," Ferrugia said. "This is an opportunity to do longer-form work."
He'll lose salary but gain flexibility, namely relief from doing a 10 p.m. newscast. That's a plus for a family with a high-schooler still at home.
How big was the pay cut?
"It wasn't an economic decision for John," said Doug Price, president and CEO of Rocky Mountain PBS.
Channel 7's boss assumed Ferrugia would re-up when his contract expired last month. He was ready to sweeten the deal.
"I was hoping for a couple-year run with John and Tony (Kovaleski)," who recently returned to Channel 7, said KMGH VP and general manager Brad Remington. (Ferrugia worked behind the scenes to get Kovaleski back to town. Instead of having the band back together, the station will hire an investigative reporter to replace Ferrugia.)
"We were a little surprised, but it does make sense for John," Remington said. "This gives him a chance to work at a different pace than commercial TV."
At RMPBS, Ferrugia will serve as principal news anchor and managing editor. "It's not going to be better or worse, it's just going to be different," he said.